In today’s busy world, there is hardly any time we get to spend for ourselves. Most of us don’t even have the luxury to sit down and relax for five minutes, let alone spend 30 minutes for proper meditation.
There is so much to do all the time, and our mind is constantly preoccupied with thoughts and emotions, thereby making us feel stressed and anxious for a large part of the day. This can put too much pressure on our nervous system, thus leading to possible breakdown at any time.
All human beings need to take off for a few minutes a day to nurture a positive mindset and balance our body and mind.
So, for the well-being of your body and mind, you can use some simple yet effective mindfulness exercises to reduce stress and anxiety caused by the maddening world.
This article discusses 7 simple mindfulness exercises that require less effort and can be done anywhere at any time. Embarking these best mindfulness activities can be a small step towards a happy life free from stress and tension.
How To Practice Mindfulness: 8 Mindfulness Exercises For You
1. Mindfulness Meditation
One of the simple keys to leading a happy life is to appreciate the little things around us, and this is one of those mindfulness exercises designed to help us live in harmony with nature.
How to do it?
- Pick an object around you and focus on watching it for more than a minute or two. It could be any object like a pen, flower, or even an insect.
- Do not turn away your attention from that specific object. Just relax and watch it as long as your concentration allows you.
- Look at the object as if it’s the first time you see it.
- Use this opportunity to indulge in the beauty of the object, visually explore every part of it and allow yourself to delve into its presence fully.
- Open up yourself to connect with the energy of the object and its purpose.
Mindful observation is simple but very powerful in instilling mindfulness in us. Begin now and notice the amazing changes it brings into your life.
2. Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing is one of those mindfulness exercises that can be done anytime, anywhere, even while standing up or sitting down.
The only requirement for this mindfulness meditation is to be still and keep your breath-focused for a minute or so. Focused breathing is an amazing technique that can instantly calm you down and take away your anxiety.
How to do it?
- Sit down in a serene place comfortably and close your eyes. Start by breathing in and out slowly. Our breathing pattern and cycle should last for about 4 to 6 seconds.
- Now exhale in through your nose and slowly let it out through your mouth. Don’t put too much pressure on it. Just gradually let the breath flow in and out of our bodies.
- Bring your attention towards your breath and note the physical sensations happening in your body, don’t let your mind wander, and let go of all unnecessary thoughts that bother you at the moment.
- Watch your body rise and fall as you indulge in deep breathing. Bring your sense of awareness about it as you do these mindfulness exercises.
- Then watch the positive energy as it fills you up and the world around you as you finish this mindfulness meditation.
- You can also practice mindful breathing by laying down with your feet flat.
If you have problems like anxiety and stress, this mindfulness exercise can be a small step towards eliminating them. Mindfulness meditations are a great way to discover your inner self and cultivate self-compassion.
3. Mindful Listening
This is one of those mindfulness exercises that helps us listen without any preconceptions engraved in us due to our previous experiences.
Our personal experience highly influences the majority of what we feel. Sometimes, we may hate a song because it reminds us of a person who we no longer talk to or a very tough phase in our life.
How to do it?
- Select a song or music piece randomly, which you have never heard before.
- Now close your eyes slowly, take a deep breath and plug in your headphones.
- It is important not to form any preconceptions about it when you see the title of the song or the artist’s name associated with it.
- Allow yourself to explore the song’s nuances even if it is not per your preferences and immerse yourself inside the track.
- Listen to the song and try to analyze the dynamics of every instrument. See if you can separate it and classify the sounds in your mind.
The main idea behind this mindfulness exercise is to listen more intently and take a closer look at the details without any preconceived notions about it to make your listening process more enjoyable. Music has the power to induce calmness and relieve stress.
4. Mindful Appreciation
This is one of those mindfulness exercises that let you appreciate things that go unnoticed in our everyday life. These things can be objects or even people as per your preferences. For example, it could be your mailman who delivers your mails or even your iron man.
The main intent of this exercise is to be grateful and appreciate the simple things in your life that add to your wonderful existence.
How to do it?
- Sit down and make a list of 5 things that usually go unnoticed by you in your notepad.
- Explore the beauty of those things and take a closer look at their intricate details.
- Think about the possible scenarios of how your life would be without these things
- Analyze the relationships between these things and their role in the world around us.
At the end of this mindful exercise, it is your responsibility to find out every detail about these things, their existence, and their purpose so that you truly appreciate them. Do this on your own accord and start to notice the changes.
5. Mindful Immersion
Mindful immersion is all about mindfulness exercises that help us to live in the present moment. We are often in a hurry to finish some everyday work and move on to the other. These mindfulness exercises stress the importance of taking up that daily task and fully immersing yourself in the moment.
It could be any random exercise like watering the plants or cleaning the house. Rather than just treating it like a boring everyday task, one can create a whole new experience by paying attention to every aspect of it.
How to do it?
- Pick up any activity from your daily routine. For example, if it is washing the dishes, feel and sense the motion that is happening.
- Pay attention to all the muscles that your body is using for the activity
- Instead of constantly thinking about finishing the chore, rather immerse yourselves in the whole process with an increased awareness of what you are doing at the moment.
The whole intent of these mindfulness exercises is to make simple practices more creative and enjoyable, and maybe who knows, and you will start enjoying doing the same thing over and over again!
6. Mindful Awareness
These mindfulness exercises are designed to enhance our awareness levels in our daily life. For example, it could be a simple opening the door, which all of us daily but most often take for granted.
The next time you open a door, walk slowly towards it and take a deep breath to be mindful before you touch it. Analyze how you will feel about it in that particular moment and think about the path where the door will lead you.
It doesn’t have to be physical awareness all the time. The next time you are having a negative thought or anticipating bad things, take a minute to slow down, think about how useless the thought is, and throw away the negativity slowly.
The whole intent behind these mindfulness exercises is to take small pauses from your roller coaster life and make you more aware of what you are doing and appreciate the changes it brings to make your life more wonderful. Understanding this and replacing the old habits with new patterns will work wonders in your life.
7. Mindful Eating
In present times, mindless eating has become a very common trend. Most often, when we eat, we are not engaging in the whole process. Rather, we use our phones or watch something on television.
Eating is considered one of the most pleasurable experiences for the human body, and mindful eating can be a more rewarding experience. If done properly, they not only satisfy our nutritional needs but also pleases our senses.
How to do it?
- Pay attention to every bite you eat. Chew and savor the food in your mouth while you eat.
- Explore the taste, texture, and flavor of what you eat slowly.
- Consume food according to your hunger levels. Be very mindful about what to eat and how much to eat.
- Indulge in the habit of peaceful eating. Sit down comfortably in a quiet place and eat them at a slow and relaxed pace to relish their taste. Do not multitask while you eat or engage in eating if you are in a hurry.
- The most important thing is don’t eat it if you don’t like it. Make sure to only opt for foods that you like and enjoy eating.
It is very important to incubate this habit in children from a very young age. It could change their perceptions about food and can be a great introduction to mindful eating.
Mindless eating can cause a lot of problems like overeating and the consumption of high sugar levels. If you start becoming more aware of what is on your plate, you will understand more about how to fuel your body and satisfy your senses.
Try this from your next meal and notice the difference!
8. Mindful Driving
Driving to college and working every day is stressful for many, but the daily commute is also an amazing opportunity to train our minds and practice mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness every day during our daily commute improves our focus and our ability to concentrate. It also provides clarity to our thoughts and our decision-making process. Since most of us commute twice a day, it is an amazing opportunity to learn and form new habits.
How to do it?
- Get into your car. Before you start your car, take a deep breath and observe how you feel in your vehicle.
2. Now, put your key and start your car but make sure to turn off the music and to put your phone in silent mode. Be clear about the intention you set before the mindful car ride
3. Focus on the road and observe the things as you pass by them. It could be other commuters, buildings, or anything else on the road. This could be an amazing opportunity to observe new things even if you have often passed the same street.
4. Every time your mind starts to wander, bring back your attention, gently get it back, and remember the purpose behind mindful driving.
5. When you arrive at your destination, pause for a minute and take a deep breath before you start your day.
Read more about mindfulness exercises.
Bonus: Quick 1 Minute Mindfulness Exercise
1. Fake Yawn For Every 10 Seconds An Hour
Do a fake yawn and stretch for 10 seconds whenever possible. This will eventually trigger real ones. Always make a sound when you exhale. This will disrupt your thoughts and dreams and bring you back to reality.
Now get back to whatever you were doing with more clarity!
Mindfulness exercises cannot be mastered on the first try, and they require patience and perseverance. When you start practicing mindfulness exercises, there are very high chances that you will lose control, your mind wanders continuously, or you will get lost in thoughts even before you know.
But with proper and continuous mindfulness practice, you will eventually get hold of it. By practicing mindfulness exercises regularly, you will become more aware of your body. You will also enable you to live a more peaceful and mindful life with less stress, reduced anxiety, better relationships, and many other benefits that contribute to your overall well-being.
Begin now and have a happy mindfulness journey!
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Content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. Reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.